Toy and Action Figure Museum, USA - The New Indian Express

Toy and Action Figure Museum, USA

Published: 25th May 2014 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 24th May 2014 01:10 PM

Every age is defined by a reigning culture, and the current times are no exception. The Greeks and Romans created sculpture of such perfection that they have stayed eternal through the centuries. The Italian Renaissance gave us the Sistine chapel and Mona Lisa. The modern French created the Eiffel Tower. The transition from classical to modern continues, but America’s gift to the world, if you can call it that, is pop culture and its icons—Andy Warhol and Batman. Off the freeway on the road to Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma, the Toy and Action Figure Museum is home to the colourful universe of action heroes in all their plastic glory.

In 2005, the museum actually opened as the result of a programme by the city. Five years before, Paul’s Valley initiated Vision 2010, to create attention-grabbing endeavours to boost local tourism. The Toy and Action Figure Museum is the brainchild of local toy designer Kevin Stark, whose idea was to create a fully-accredited non-profit viewers gallery—the only official museum of its kind in the world.

Inside the museum, a large space is quartered off into different small rooms. Cartoons from famous Oklahoma illustrators populate one. In the “Batcave”, only Batman-related figures and collectables are the stars. There are more than 13,000 separate action figures on display at the Toy and Action Figure Museum, some of them still intact within their plastic packaging. The large central diorama features innumerable, brightly colourful figures in action from all over the world. There is Spider-Man whizzing past an X-Wing fighter suspended on a string. Psycho Man swaggers into a Peewee’s Playhouse playset. The interactive area is for hands-on experience. The museum literally spells out the history of action figures, from the initial stars of the late ’50s to today’s favourites. Visitors get to know behind-the-scenes how toys are made; each year  a toy line makes it into the museum’s Hall of Fame. Memorabilia is a lucrative part of tourism, so action figures are on sale at the museum gift shop, appealing to your inner child—it’s a a toy shop in its own right.

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